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The World's Oldest Culinary Art?

It's barbecue.

On June 24, 2005 barbecue expert Steven Raichlen gave a lecture on "Barbecue: A History of the World's Oldest Culinary Art" at the Library of Congress. Raichlen wrote the "bible" on the subject.

Three of Raichlen's cookbooks, "The Barbecue! Bible," "BBQ USA: 425 Fiery Recipes from All Across America" and "How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques," have become best-sellers.

Barbecue Stand Near Fort Benning, Columbus, Georgia, 1940 Author Steven Raichlen

Early in his career, Raichlen researched culinary history at the Library of Congress. He said, "It would be a great honor for me to speak at the Library of Congress. I got my start in this business a long time ago with the help of one of your rare book librarians, Mr. Beck, who managed the Katherine Bitting collection." Leonard N. Beck was curator of the Katherine Golden Bitting and Elizabeth Robins Pennell collections of European and American culinary books, publications and manuscripts from the 15th to the 20th centuries in the Library's Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Raichlen is the author of 26 cookbooks and the host of "Barbecue University," a television show on PBS, now in its third year. The show is taped on location at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., where he teaches barbecue and grilling classes in a program of the same title, "Barbecue University."

You can still catch Raichlen's fascinating lecture by visiting the Webcasts page, where you can also access more than 400 other programs in categories such as "Biography, History," "Culture, Performing Arts," "Education," "Government" "Poetry, Literature," "Religion" and "Science, Technology." There are programs for every taste and interest.

A. Marion Post Wolcott, photographer. "Barbecue Stand Near Fort Benning, Columbus, Georgia," 1940. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USF34-056482-D DLC (b&w film neg.); Call No.: LC-USF34- 056482-D

B. Author Steven Raichlen. Reproduction information: Not available for reproduction.